After much anticipation, the day that many Carnival fans have looked toward is finally here. Carnival Celebration — the newest ship from the cruise line — will make its inaugural voyage from the United States today when it departs from the newly renovated Terminal F in Miami.
The cruise is a six-day trip over Thanksgiving with stops in Grand Turk, Amber Cove, and Nassau.
Preceding today’s cruise, Carnival held a naming ceremony for the ship the night before. There, the ship was christened by Godmother Cassidy Gifford, alongside her mother Kathie Lee Gifford, who was the Godmother of M/S Celebration (the ship Carnival Celebration is named after) in 1987.
Other stars taking part in the ceremonies of welcoming the new ship included Emeril Lagasse cutting the ribbon on his restaurant on the ship — Emeril’s Bistro 1397 — and Kool & The Gang playing a concert, which included their song “Celebrate!”
Carnival Celebration marks the second Excel-class cruise ship in the Carnival fleet, as a sister to Mardi Gras. A third Excel ship — Carnival Jubilee — is scheduled to join the fleet and sail from Galveston starting late next year.
These new ships are a new direction from Carnival that pushes their ships bigger and better. For instance, Carnival Celebration can welcome nearly 5,300 passengers at double occupancy and is a staggering 180,000 gross tons. Carnival Panorama, the newest ship in the Carnival fleet (built in 2019) before the Excel class was introduced, is significantly smaller at 4,000 passengers and 133,500 gross tons.
With that space, the cruise line can push the limits on what’s available to passengers. There are restaurants from Guy Fieri, Emeril Lagasse, Rudi Sodamin, and even Shaquille O’Neal. The ship has six different zones, including a new Miami-themed zone called 820 Biscayne. And yes, Celebration also sees the BOLT roller coaster that first made an appearance on Mardi Gras.
In other words, the experience aboard ships like Mardi Gras and Celebration promises to be completely elevated above what’s available on the rest of the fleet, but still keeping Carnival’s “Funship” mentality in place.
With Carnival Celebration porting in Miami, the cruise line says that five of its 24-ship fleet will now sail from the cruise capital of the world. All told, it expects to cruise with 20,000 passengers per week from Miami alone.
Carnival Celebration will sail predominately 7-day cruises around the Caribbean following the inaugural 6-day cruise. And while this sailing is the first trip from the United States, technically the first cruise was earlier this month when the ship sailed from England on a transatlantic crossing to reach its new home.